Sunday, November 9, 2008
Porte de Menin
I was 14 years old and on a school trip when I was taken to Ypres to see the Menin gate. All I remember was how big it was and so many names….
I’ve since discovered that the names are of missing soldiers and there wasn’t enough room for them all. Bodies are still being found today (from 1914-18) and if they are identified the names are removed. Every evening at 8 o’clock the last post is sounded. This done by the perpetual endowment of Rudyard Kipling whose son John was killed in 1915. The only years missed were during the occupation in the second world war.
I dreamed kind Jesus fouled the big-gun gears;
And caused a permanent stoppage in all bolts;
And buckled with a smile Mausers and Colts;
And rusted every bayonet with His tears.
And there were no more bombs, of ours or theirs,
Not even an old flint-lock, nor even a pikel.
But God was vexed and gave all power to Michael;
And when I woke he’d seen to our repairs.
Another post on Time and Oft.